NGT directs UP govt to pay Rs 120 crore as environmental compensation | The Financial Express

NGT directs UP govt to pay Rs 120 crore as environmental compensation

It also directed the constitution of a six-member joint committee for planning and execution of remedial measures to meet the norms, preferably within six months, failing which further compensation could be levied.

NGT directs UP govt to pay Rs 120 crore as environmental compensation
A bench headed by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel held the state accountable for discharging at least 55 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage into drains, rivers and other water bodies. (File/IE)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to deposit an amount of Rs 120 crore as environmental compensation for improper management of liquid and solid waste.

A bench headed by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel held the state accountable for discharging at least 55 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage into drains, rivers and other water bodies.

“From the report filed on behalf of the state, it is not clear as to the number of industries for whom a Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) is planned and the water quality does not show positive results after bio-remediation work,” the bench, also comprising Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, said.

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The bench pointed out that water pollution continues and the issue is “at the planning stage in crucial aspects”.

It held that the liability of the state government for the discharge of 55 MLD sewage into rivers in and around Gorakhpur was at the rate of Rs 2 crore per MLD.

“We determine the liability of the state of Uttar Pradesh for the discharge of 55 MLD sewage into rivers at Gorakhpur at Rs 110 crore. Further, for failure to process solid waste, on scale applied in other cases, compensation is to be fixed. As per information given during the hearing, the unprocessed legacy solid waste is 3.8 lakh MT at two sites. Applying the scale of compensation followed in the case of Maharashtra, compensation comes to Rs. 11.4 crore, which is rounded of at Rs 10 crore. Thus, the total compensation is determined at Rs 120 crore,” the bench said.

The bench directed the state government to deposit the compensation within a month in a ring-fenced account under the control of the divisional commissioner, Gorakhpur.

It also directed the constitution of a six-member joint committee for planning and execution of remedial measures to meet the norms, preferably within six months, failing which further compensation could be levied.

“The steps will include operationalisation of CETPs, interception and diversion of drains to the respective Sewage Treatment Plans (STPs)…maintaining floodplain zones of rivers, lakes in question and also Ramgarh Tal, preventing encroachment, ensuring plantation and desilting of the Tal and other associated activities,” the bench said.

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Additionally, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Board could jointly carry out field investigation on commissioning and utilisation of CETPs, along with evaluating the functioning and performance of the STPs, the bench added.

“An action-taken report may be filed with the registrar general of this tribunal within six months…,” it said.

The bench was hearing a petition seeking remedial action against contamination of water bodies and groundwater because of the discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluents, especially in the Ramgarh Lake and the Ami, Rapti and Rohani rivers in and around Gorakhpur district.

In its last hearing on March 30, the tribunal had reviewed the progress and said there was a serious failure on the part of the authorities as regards controlling water pollution.

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